California

The Old Girl

car%28600x800%29.jpgMy automotive history has been a spotty one. There was Coche Verde, a 1997 Chevy Silverado extended cab that I had for about a year when I was a senior in high school and freshman in college. Then there was the Cranberry Cruiser, a Dodge Stratus I had for about a year when I was a senior in college and then living out in Los Angeles. But in the spring of 2005, I got this 2001 Kia Sephia. I never came up with a proper name for her; I merely referred to her with the general female pronoun as many men have done with their vessels over the years. Somewhere along the line, calling her "the old girl" became the default, and then her official title.

She cost $6,000. (Though I wound up paying more, since I had to finance for a long time and had no money down and got her when I was not making much money.) I bombed all over Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange Counties in her. I put a bumper sticker on her that I regretted less than 18 months later. I punished her with a 90-mile round-trip commute when I was living in Glendale and working in Thousand Oaks, then took it easier on her when I was living in Sherman Oaks and working in Mid-Wilshire. I took her on dates. (I did, despite my own worst efforts, get a few.) I took her to Comic-Con and Disneyland. I drove her all over the network of L.A. freeways, moving through the heart of the city like a cell through vessels. I knew just how far I could push her, and how far she could go.

The axle always made a little popping noise when I stopped. When I bought her, the sales manager acted generous when he told me he'd give me free floor mats; I took delivery of the car to find that he'd given me tan ones that clashed with the gray interior. She got good mileage, but pickup slowed to a crawl if the AC fan was on any higher than the lowest possible setting. I often drove to and from work with the windows down.

She was in more than her fair share of scrapes, too. Most frightening was the hit and run, in which I was heading north along Highland to the 101, only to be hit on my front right side when a driver pulled out to turn (on his red light) and then sped off before I could get his tags. She accrued a number of other dings over the years whose origins I can no longer remember. The front-facing license plate fell off last fall when a car bumped her while she was parked at the Fannin South lot, where I'd left her while I rode the train to work. By then, I didn't want to put more miles on her than she could afford: I'd gotten her with something like 44,000, but by last fall, it was up to 120,000.

She got me to Texas, though. When I moved from L.A. to Houston in the fall of 2009, I shipped my belongings ahead of me and drove with a friend in the old girl. This was a good plan in theory: I was able to toss a bunch of old furniture and junk I didn't need and just ship or pack the essentials. Yet I erred on the side of keeping too many things, and as a result, the old girl was painfully loaded down for the 1,500-mile journey. Her RPMs hovered past 4,000 for the entirety of the two-day trip. Accelerating up to highway speeds took considerable effort and planning; lane changes and exits required calculations of inertia I thought I'd left behind in 11th-grade physics. The Check Engine light clicked on not long after I arrived in my new home, and though I poured some more money into her for repairs over the next year, the light ultimately stayed on. I came to think of it as a sign that she was at least still alive and kicking, well enough to know something was off.

But she never quit. All the aches and pains, all the repairs and leaks; the night my stereo was stolen, and the next day, when my roommate and I put in a new one. The new brakes, the groaning transmission; the way the tint on the rear window was permanently warped and bubbled, training me to look not for specific cars or people behind me but to distinguish threats by patches of color and light. She hung in there. I had her for just shy of six years, longer than I've had any other car to date. I'm excited about the new car in my life, and grateful for the opportunity to have it, just as I'm thankful I had her for so long. She was a big part of my life for a long time, and she'll forever be tied to the memories I made in my early 20s. What more could a man want?

On The Road Again; or, I Gotta Go See About A Girl; or, Homeward Bound

bucksm (Photo by Tracy Manford via Flickr)

This blog will be on pause for a few days, though to be honest, given the slower posting schedule I seem to have set for myself, a pause might not be noticeable. But while previous unplanned breaks were usually the result of a lack of work or content, this one comes as I load up what possessions I've decided to keep and drive the 1,559 miles from Los Angeles to Houston. It's a one-way trip. I'd never planned on living in Houston, but I guess that's why it makes sense; most plans have a way of fixing themselves, and this is where the current is carrying me, if I can mix two bad metaphors in one sentence. (Hi, potential employers!)

I've completely loved my time in L.A., and wouldn't trade the people or experiences for anything, but it's time to go and see what life has to offer in another place. In the words of John Hughes, "I haven't disappeared. I'm standing right here. I'm just not in Los Angeles." It's a big world. See you when I get there.

Letter To A Young Man Moving To Los Angeles

So you're moving to Los Angeles. Good choice. It's a sprawling, vibrant, insane city. There will always be something to do or see, someplace to go, some new road to chart. But if you've got a minute, I've got some advice.1. Buy a Thomas Guide. Keep it in your car. 2. Stay out of the really bad parts of the Valley. If you wind up there, stay east. The closer to Ventura Blvd., the better. 3. Don't take yourself so seriously. It's the only way to get other people to. 4. Do big things badly, as the man said. Screw up so completely that there's no way to put out the fire, just contain it and minimize the burns. The freer you are to fail, the more willing you will be to take the chances that will lead to a success that's more rewarding than you realize. 5. You won't do #4 that well, or at all, for a while. That's normal, and when you think about it, not doing it is kind of like doing it. But don't forget it. 6. Learn to love guacamole. It's a life-changer. 7. The worst thing about the traffic here is its unpredictability. Sometimes the 101 south will be clogged at like 1 p.m. on a Saturday, just because. Learn to deal. 8. And so help me, do not become one of those people who wants to get on the 134 and waits until the last possible minute to get over. Or one of those people who drives into an intersection with no guarantee to go through it, if cars are backed up after the light. Then you cause jams, and you are an ass. People who drive like that are worse than Republicans; at least bad drivers are usually self-aware enough to be able to change their behavior. 9. The Arclight is the best theater in the country. There are many great theaters nationwide that offer special screenings or serve food and beer, and this has that, too. But for an honestly top-level experience, you cannot beat the Arclight. Period. The one in Sherman Oaks is still very good, and much better than a typical multiplex, but there is absolutely no topping the original one in Hollywood. Not at all. Anyone who says different is lying or misinformed. Make it your cathedral. 10. The Kogi truck sells overrated tacos. Pinkberry sells overrated yogurt. Sprinkles sells overrated cupcakes. Avoid buzzy trends and just look for good places to be. 11. You know those annoying girls and douchey guys you see on show like "The Hills"? They're real. Just stay away from them. A good rule of thumb is just to never go to a club, since that's where the asshats hang out. Find a good bar, or dive bar. 12. Speaking of which: The Scarlet Lady Saloon in Culver City, where Sepulveda hits Sawtelle, is probably the best bar in the city. It's a dive, and it's just a little brighter inside than you'd expect, but it's got a great bar staff, colorful locals, karaoke on the weekens, and an all-around relaxed vibe. It's also two doors down from Roger's Exciting Tattle-Tale Room, a dive bar so gross it's not uncommon for hookers to use it as a pit stop. You'll love it. 12(a). Seriously, don't knock karaoke. Learn to kill on one or two songs, and you're set. 13. Amoeba has most anything you're looking for. The only artist I've never been able to find there is Eytan Mirsky, but that's a rare exception. The best thing is that they've got an amazing churn on new arrivals in all genres, so visiting the artist sections for your favorite bands can yield something new every time, and often for cheaper than you'd expect. Tons of great DVDs, as well. It's your new favorite store. 14. Go to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Order the Carol C. and a glass of tea. Know happiness. 15. The best guac in town is at Tere's Mexican Grill, southeast corner of Melrose and Cahuenga. 16. People back home will ask you on a regular basis if you've seen any celebrities. They will ask this with an expectant and hopeful tone, as if there's a park where all the famous people hang out and anyone's allowed to hang out with them. Get used to it. What they don't realize, and what you need to remember, is that people who work in the business are just people, and this is a company town where a lot of industry employees live. That's it. Some like being approached, some don't; it's better to err on the side of caution. 17. Yes, In-N-Out Burger is a classic experience and a staple of life in L.A., but a better meal can be had at The Habit. Hands down. 18. Go ahead and use the carpool lane on entrance ramps. They're almost never monitored (and you can get out easily if they are), and you can breeze by the people waiting for the light to turn green. Totally worth it. 19. Valet if possible. When you get here, you will resist this, and will look for a place to park on the street even though it's still like two blocks from the restaurant and there's not an easy place to cross the street. You will think, "I came from a land of free and abundant parking, and I have no truck with paying to park unless absolutely necessary." But dude, look around. This town is falling all over itself for lack of place to put stuff, and you'll be paying to park in garages more than ever. And a valet service is just a necessary evil and a cost you will eventually begin to factor into a night out. It's one of the best conveniences you can get for just a few bucks. Believe me. 20. If you live in the Valley, take the Flyaway shuttle to LAX if you have to travel. Or fly out of Burbank if you just don't want to deal with a crowd. But for LAX, the Flyaway service is key. 21. Always tip the bartender well, especially if you begin to frequent the place. That's how you get strong pours. 22. The beach is overrated. Never go on a Saturday. 23. Watch out for intersections in Hollywood and West Hollywood: A lot of them have cameras that will snap you running a red light. And they will find you and send you the ticket. Off the top of my head, there's one at Sunset and Cahuenga, and several along Fairfax. (Check here for more.) 24. Always check signs when you park in a residential area. 25. Never go to any place that charges a cover. 26. Never settle. Good luck, Daniel

Now I Just Need To Find My Own Version Of Tuba Girl

merogensxsw.jpg I've known about Seth Rogen ever since I watched "Freaks and Geeks" back in high school, but it wasn't until fall 2006 that I realized I was kind of weirdly similar to him, or at least the onscreen personas he's created. As Rogen's popularity has grown, I've increasingly been accused of looking like him, mostly from drunks on the Westside, but it's just because I'm tall, overweight, and sport curly hair and a beard. I probably can't stress enough that this is something people (again, mostly when drunk) do all on their own. They look at me and make the leap. There's a slightly dickheaded writer at The Hollywood Reporter who half-jokingly said I was the one going around telling people, including celebrities, that I looked like Rogen, but I'm not. That's what makes part of the recent South by Southwest so weird.

Covering film premieres for work let me do some red-carpet interviews, and while talking to Paul Rudd ahead of I Love You, Man, he joked, "When Jason (Segel) and I pulled up, I said, 'Oh, Seth's here.'" I laughed but mainly thought it was kind of surreal that someone who knew Rogen was parroting what I usually get from inebriated locals at the Scarlet Lady. Later that week, on the press line for Observe and Report, Michael Pena said, apropos of nothing, "You look like Seth, dude." A few minutes later, as Rogen walked up to do his 60 seconds of chatting for my paper, he stuck out his hand and said, "Hello, me." First words out of the guy's mouth. It was bizarre, but not unpleasant.

Anyway, after being told many times I resemble the actor, he confirmed it himself. I don't know what that means, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean much of anything. I sat down for a few minutes the next day for interviews with him, Pena, Jody Hill, and Anna Faris, and I was also more comfortable interviewing Rogen than the rest just because I knew I wouldn't have to go very far to guess at what makes a 27-year-old sarcastic guy tick. We talked about movies and comic books, and I had a good time. He's a nice and completely normal guy.

My intro paragraph for the interview was given tonal direction by the editor and then chopped up anyway, so here's what it originally was:

"It makes sense that Seth Rogen is becoming a household name: He's almost earnestly normal, the kind of funny, smart, literate guy who's as down-to-earth as you'd expect from the man who came to fame playing stoner sidekicks. But he's also in the process of transforming that image, with roles like the unhinged security guard in Observe and Report and a bona fide superhero in Michel Gondry's forthcoming The Green Hornet. His days as the lovable schlub might be numbered after all."

Click here for the interview.

Summertime Verse — 2

O Purple Jenny!Where did you go? My friends tell me that summer started long ago. But it hasn't. You and I both know that summer doesn't begin until you decide to return to our pool. Sure, when I say "our," I mean "belonging to the entire apartment complex, even the old ladies who shouldn't go swimming that often or wear sleeveless T-shirts, which is just unsettling." But my backdoor opens onto a small worthless patio that then opens onto the pool and that's where you always used to be: Laying out on summer afternoons, swimming in the valley's own heat, wearing that purple two-piece forged from God's own designs. Where did you go? We — my roommate and I — we think you used to live with Jorge, this guy we knew through a friend. We're pretty sure you two were roommates in a nonsexual way. Or at least that's what we told ourselves. Not that it mattered. But you were still part and parcel of the summers here, a young and pleasing sign of the changing seasons, a memory from our first real days here. We haven't seen you all year, and we realize that you probably moved out. But baby, you can always come back home.

The Ducks Are Back

ducks2 Sometime last summer or fall, these ducks arrived at my apartment complex. My apartment's back door opens onto the pool area, so it's pretty easy to stick your head out and see them. My roommate and I aren't entirely sure where the ducks came from; there's a park nearby, which seems likely, though we've never seen any other ducks there. They came for a while, hung out during the day, and then left. We figured they were gone, having flown off to live somewhere else and do whatever ducks do. But the other morning, we heard a persistent quacking and knew they'd returned.

ducks3

We named them Mr. Fantastic and Ken the Brave. (It made sense, kinda, at the time.) They've been around for the past couple days, having apparently decided that wherever they were wasn't nearly exciting as our part of the Valley. I threw them some bread crusts the other day to the consternation of my roommate, who likes having them around but hates the quacking. Sorry, man. Besides, they'll probably take off again before too long.

Baby Please Come Home: Another Great Night At The El Rey

I didn't even know about Aimee Mann's 2nd Annual Christmas Show until a couple weeks ago. I like Mann plenty, having first been exposed to her (as might be the case for some) on the Magnolia soundtrack. I didn't know quite what to expect from her Christmas show at the El Rey, but I wasn't prepared for such a fun show. That's what the concert was more than anything: A chance for Mann and her fellow musicians and performers to have fun doing a few seasonal numbers. The concert played largely like a variety show, with several special guests (more than are mentioned here) popping in for a number or two before disappearing offstage again. Mann and Paul F. Tompkins, a comedian who's way too smart for his talking-head role on "Best Week Ever," served as co-emcees for the evening, and Tompkins even performed a brief set at one point. They even traded banter and performed duets. The whole thing was so damn charming, you know? The evening opened with the lights slowly revealing the Christmas trees, nutcrackers, and simple lights adorning the stage, while Mann performed "Jacob Marley's Chain":

Not long after, Mann stepped to the mic and introduced Jackson Browne, at which point the crowd erupted in that kind of incredulous applause where they can't quite believe what's happening. And sure enough, Browne sauntered onstage looking as timeless as ever, his lanky hair swaying back and forth like it has been since "The Pretender." Browne then made his way to the keyboard and performed "The Rebel Jesus" and a cover of Steve Earle's "Jerusalem." The video is godwaful for the first half, but bear with it, or just close your eyes:

But Mann and Tompkins kept the energy up and the mood light with some of their interactions, especially "Baby, It's Cold Outside":

Probably the most vocally impressive guest was Amos Lee, who came out to sturdy applause, quietly took his place at the mic, and proceeded to blow the doors off with a cover of John Prine's "Christmas in Prison":

Grant-Lee Phillips was also there working his 12-string, and in addition to a great version of The Pretenders' "2000 Miles," he also teamed with Mann for a fantastic version of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," which made me smile like a kid the whole time:

Mann also dipped into her non-seasonal catalog with "Save Me." This video can't come close to how great it was to stand there and hear her sing this in a venue as intimate as the El Rey. When it was done, in that moment of silence when the cheers die down and the artist is getting ready for their next number, a guy behind me shouted, "You should've won the Oscar!" The applause erupted again, and Mann smiled before making a joke about how Phil Collins was probably very deserving. (The fact that Collins won an Oscar for a song from Disney's Tarzan while Mann's work in P.T. Anderson's pretty damn amazing Magnolia went unrecognized is just another indictment of the Academy.) Anyway, this is "Save Me":

The show ended with everyone onstage for an encore of one song, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," first recorded by Darlene Love on 1963's A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector and recorded by a hundred others since. The horn section came back out, all the evening's musicians returned to the stage, and everyone blasted away at a Christmas classic with gleeful unselfconsciousness. The show was rousing; there's no other way to put it. It was fun and funny and uplifting in the way the best concerts always are. A month ago, I didn't even know Mann did a Christmas show, and now I'm already looking forward to next year:

In-World Inconsistencies That Render Disneyland's "Star Tours" Attraction At Best Inaccurate And At Worst Downright Apocryphal

xwing.jpg• The posters advertising a "tour" to Yavin are somewhat inaccurate, as Yavin was actually a gas giant, and the Rebel base was on Yavin IV, one of the moons. Duh. They also feature a shot of Luke on a tauntaun on the poster for Hoth, as well as shots of Bespin, but the ride itself renders that nonsensical, since the tour clearly takes place during the Battle of Yavin, before the Alliance relocated to Hoth or anyone went to Cloud City. Again: Duh. • The pilot was a droid named Rex, but is it really likely that the piloting of a human transport ship, even one belonging to a tourism company, would be left up to a droid? Sure, the R2 unit up top helped out, but you'd think it would be a better idea to have a human behind the actual wheel. • The instructional video that instructs tourists to buckle up and avoid using flash photography features a child taking a photo of a Wookiee, who is startled by the flash but just whines/growls about it. At the very least, the Wookiee should have yelled at the kid, and probably should have actually ripped off his arm as a warning. That would have been good. • Who's running this tour, anyway? The ship at one point jumps into the fray during the battle outside the first Death Star, which begs the question as to which side actually owns the tourism company. At a time of even small-scale war, it doesn't seem feasible that the Rebel Alliance is willing to pony up the credits to run tour ships throughout the galaxy. They sorely lack the infrastructure needed to mount a serious attack; they had something like 25 X-wings, tops, at that battle. • It also doesn't seem that likely that the Galactic Empire is running the tours, because since when do they care about showing people a good time? I guess it's possible the tours are being run by some kind of third party, a nonpartisan organization that leans toward the Rebellion, but you'd think that if they really supported the Alliance then they'd volunteer their tour boats for supply transports until the war is over. Ships are hard to come by, you know.

To This, Our Noble Tie: Or, Houston Means I'm One Day Closer To Screwed

houston1.jpg• There won't be a cute girl sitting next to you on the flight. Either of them. But really, is that so bad? Would you really have done anything? You're better off sitting next to an empty chair or the guy in his 40s who keeps pulling out a journal-ish looking book and writing in it. It's just easier. • Houston afternoons are impossibly muggy, weighed down by the kind of oppressive heat that rubs your face raw like a pillow and ruins your clothes. And yes, the high heels would suck, as well as the constant makeup and having to live slightly underweight in order to be appreciated by an increasingly skewed society, but women also get to wear skirts to things like weddings, and I can only imagine the holy wonder of having a breeze constantly blowing up your legs and keeping you a little cooler. I'd put up with a stomach-restraining magic elastic waistband for the sheer joy of feeling air circulate around my thighs. • Houston is the biggest city in Texas. That's probably the only redeeming thing to be said about it, and even that trait doesn't get you very far. I spent 72 hours in the city and saw nothing aside from endless acres of car dealerships, strip malls, and franchises, franchises, franchises. It's like Starbucks and Chili's got together and had a hellacious orgy and spewed their little baby restaurants across the coastal plain. I'm not saying there's nothing interesting in Houston, just that I covered a lot of ground and didn't see it. • Going home to the place you used to live is always weird; what you once took for granted becomes foreign and surprising. The abundance of quality and affordable Mexican food, for instance. A lunch that would have run me $11-$12 in L.A. was $7.50 in Houston, and that's a wonderful thing to keep rediscovering on successive trips. Of course, it also works the other way: I'm always floored by the amount of pickups on the road and the sheer open space of everything. • Seriously, Houston is hot. • It's also always inherently weird to travel from a place where marriage is viewed as a risky option to be entered into cautiously to a place and culture where it's much more encouraged, especially among younger people, especially especially especially among younger people who grew up in some kind of church. Being 25 and single in L.A. makes you pretty much a normal face in the crowd; in some parts of Texas it makes you stand out. And it also makes your grandmother wonder if you're gay. Marriage is a good thing, but it's disorienting to pass from one realm into another with nothing but a plane ride. I think you should have to have a passport, or at least sit through an obligatory briefing on board your aircraft, before entering Texas or California. Just as a reminder. • But there's a funny thing about that heat. In early summer, Texas nights are as warm as Los Angeles days, which makes for another in the long line of geographical disconnects, but Texas summer nights are damn beautiful things. The heat's burned off but the air is still warm, and while SoCal nights can be chilly or downright cold near the ocean, Texas midnights under the bruised but smog-free sky are never anything short of transcendant, with the countryside opening up and actual stars coming out for a few hours and everything generally feeling full of the possibilities that only punch-drunk twentysomethings can feel when the moon's out, and which will be clumsily erased by morning. Texas summer nights are easily one of the best things about the place, along with Rudy's Barbecue and the lack of a state sales tax. An old buddy of mine used to call it lawn time; grabbing some lawn time at dusk or late night is key to keeping your wits about you in Texas, to remembering that there are good things there that not even the heat and the humidity and the rednecks can take away. If you can make it through the day, the night is always waiting, and it is always worth it.

The Man Show: Or, My First Trip To A Gay Club

• It should be noted that the place was called Hotdog. Or maybe HotDog. Or Hot Dog. It's hard to say. The signage was in all caps, and the one inside was adorned with sequins. Regardless, it stands (or stood, since it's about to relocate) at the corner of Santa Monica and Fairfax, which is pretty much the pulsing glittery heart of West Hollywood. And it's called Hotdog. And that's all I could've hoped for in my first experience.• Being a straight man in a gay club feels a lot like spying on people who shouldn't have let me into the party. • Really: Hotdog. I think all gay clubs should be this blatant. Were I to found one, I would name it something like Jimmy Cock's or Frank's Ass Shack or Lance's Bait and Tackle Shop. Or Dudeville. • Man, some of those guys were cut. Insanely. I wish I had the build of a gay guy. Holy crap. • There was always at least one dancer up on the mainstage, and sometimes as many as three. He was a ripped but blandly handsome guy in a G-string whose job was to dance back and forth to the insistent house beat, which pumped out a consistent 4/4 thump thump thump thump no matter what song was playing. (The DJ was pretty slick at blending all the crappy songs into one long crappy song, but more about him later.) The performer(s) also had dollar bills tucked into his thong, and the DJ kept exhorting us to "be sure and tip these dancers, y'all." This was somewhat surprising, as most straight clubs I've been to don't have a scantily clad woman gyrating on a pedestal and letting drunks shove sweaty bills into their underwear, though I admit that would definitely spice things up. But I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for the dancers. It's not like they're actually doing a routine or anything, and they're up there for what must feel like hours. And the money has to be terrible. • More topless guys than I expected. • And now, presenting The Top Five Guys That Cruised Me: 5) The guy who gave me the eye as he walked past and turned to look. I would place him higher on the list, but since it was just eye contact and nothing else, he's just good enough for last place. Sorry, bud. 4) The guy who squeezed my upper arm as he slid past me through a doorway. Touching people as you pass them is nothing big, and I do it all the time at clubs to part the sea of humanity. But this guy squeezed. 3) The guy who gave me a shoulder check as he walked past me, even though there was at least 2 feet of clearance to my left and I was standing to the rear of the bar and there was practically no one nearby. 2) The guy who quickly squeezed my ass as I was bent forward over the bar trying to order a Newcastle from a dour-looking Hispanic bartender. Thanks, guy. 1) Eduardo. As I was standing idly near the dance floor, content to chew on a short red plastic drink straw and observe the mass of intricately coiffed and high-cheeked young men frolicking before me, a man probably 8-10 years my senior slyly approached me with a small smile. I made the kind of darting eye contact women use on men in this situation. He came up and said hi. I said hi. He introduced himself, and I did likewise, at which point he said I had nice eyes. A million thoughts and possible rejoinders ran through my mind, not least of which was, "If you like that, you should see my [pick your favorite euphemism]!" I also thought that I kind of agreed, that I do have some pretty good eyes, even though they're hidden by glasses and a general look of confusion. But instead I just thanked him and, I believe, returned the compliment. (I wasn't quite sober enough to muster a decent response, and besides, if it were a girl I knew exactly the kind of flirtatious and funny response I would use, but not wanting to totally lead him on, I decided to pass.) So we talked about where we're from, and what we were doing there, and relationships, or as much as two guys can talk about those things in a few brief minutes while surrounded by a swirl of brawny men in muscle Ts grinding to disco. He was more than a little handsy, but not overly so; he seemed content to settle for mildly exploratory, e.g., tugging on my jacket's lapels while saying "But we'll be all right" as he reassured me about how it's inevitable that people get over bad relationships and move on to new ones. I eventually told him I was going to get a beer and that I'd be around, but I didn't get another drink, just took a couple laps around the club and then headed for home, the disparate group of acquaintances with whom I'd traveled having long since split up to pursue individual agendas. But that was Eduardo, the No. 1 guy to cruise me, who was polite and soft-spoken and whose breath smelled like vodka and bubblegum and whose English was heavily accented and not completely sure of its idioms. I hope you have a good week, man. • Everybody smelled pretty good. You'd think that a couple hundred guys all wallowing around in different colognes and who knows how many exfoliants would create an olfactory nightmare, but it didn't. • I'm pretty sure the girl in the mermaid costume on stage wasn't always a girl. • Speaking of girls: Man oh man, there were some pretty hot women there. And why not? The dancing's good, if you're into boring house stuff, and they can let their guards down and go someplace they likely won't be hit on. This makes for an oddly target-rich environment for a straight man. It's a little unnerving, almost. • The air is charged with hormones and the expectation of random hook-ups, which isn't all that surprising: Aside from being a gay club, meaning a place that's celebratory and encouraging, it's also, you know, full of men. Watching men approach women in a straight club is to observe a classic and dangerous game, since the burden is very nearly always on the man to approach the woman (tough), and then to be interesting (tougher), etc. Typically, broadly speaking, the man is the initiator. But Hotdog/Hot Dog/HOTDOG is full of nothing but initiators, all trying to initiate with one another, and they're all more than a little horny and getting drunker by the second. Hence the ability to walk in and pair up with someone literally within minutes. • Seriously, though, the giant disco ball surrounded by six smaller ones? Come on. • The DJ was almost antagonistic to the whole thing, since he kept urging us to "drink the f**k up" and tip the dancers and get nuts. Like, does this really need to be said? Everyone already seems to have had these ideas, and they don't seem to bear repeating. Talking DJs are annoying. I don't want to hear you remind me to drink or anything, I just want you to throw on some Kanye and let me works my magics. • It was a long night, but an interesting one. I made several laps of the dance floor, content to watch various ages of guys and their respective fag hags dance while I just coasted around, oblivious. I don't plan to make a habit of frequenting gay clubs, since in addition to playing some pretty annoying (to me, anyway) music, they don't have that much to offer me, what with my not being gay. But I hung out with friends, danced a little, and even got my ass grabbed. How could I top that?

Word Has It I Could Be A Bear

me: so, there's a pretty decent shot i'm going to a gay bar with jeremy next weekend, and i'm looking forward to itit'll be a story, that's for sure Sis: pajiba jeremy? me: yeah Sis: what do straight people do in gay bars? will they be able to tell you're straight right away? me: i'm pretty sure they just drink i'll be at a bar, knowing i won't get laid. it'll be a lot like when i'm at a straight bar